I have always been an advocate when it comes to local produce.
On this blog, and on social media, I am forever keen to highlight where restaurants source their ingredients from. I think it’s an important part of understanding the value of our food and the notion behind supporting our hard working farmers and small time producers. There is something fulfilling about knowing that what is on my plate is as fresh as possible, it has not been tampered with and has been grown or reared with care.
It was with excitement then, that I greeted the news of Farmdrop coming to Bristol. The company originated in London from a simple idea; connecting food from small, local independent businesses and farmers directly to the shopper, hassle free.
Farmdrop want to provide us with fresh produce that comes from within 100 miles. The items available to purchase have all been handpicked to offer a variety of different choices and alternatives to leading supermarket chains. Farmdrop believes in working closely with the producers, and in turn, they are given 75% of the final retail price, which is more than what supermarkets give to farmers, with them often getting less than 50%.
The team also want the best in terms of welfare for all the meat and poultry they sell, which is all free range. The animals are able to graze freely with the majority of them feeding on grass and pasture for most of their lives, meaning the end result is a product with higher levels of good fats and vitamins.
I was offered to trial a Farmdrop delivery box to see what I thought. Firstly, the website is packed with options to shop from, in accordance with availability in your selected area. I was familiar with some of the suppliers, but others were new to me, which I thought was great. I love seeking out new producers and trying what is on offer. The obvious choices are there; meats, fish, fruit and vegetables, dairy and eggs. However, there are also bakery, larder, household, drinks and deli sections, so you are spoilt for choice. I think it is safe to say that you probably wouldn’t be able to do your full weekly shop on the site, as there are some things you just need to go to the supermarket for, however, the core ingredients for meals and stocking up your pantry are all here. I opted to go for a bit of a mixture; steak from Luke Hassel’s Story Farm, free range chicken breasts, some Lovett Pies (for those colder autumnal evenings), a taster of Harry’s cider, some on the vine tomatoes and other vegetables and lastly, some organic wine (obviously).
I chose my delivery date, early on a Saturday morning (perfect to then use for weekend cooking) and that was that. On said Saturday, my delivery driver arrived earlier than expected but still within the committed time-frame in his electric van (Farmdrop are also very cautious about the environment and it’s welfare). My delivery man was friendly and didn’t even bat an eyelid to the fact I looked like a fate worse than death after an evening of Power Ballads.
My gorgeous ruby-red vine tomatoes came in a modest little brown paper bag and looked so juicy I wanted to take a bite into them there and then. The chicken breasts were chunky and of modest size (a lot bigger than what I would have got in the local supermarket) and my thick slab of steak arrived in a sealed tight air bag and looked ready to sizzle. Perhaps it is because I know the produce has come from an honest place that it makes it taste better for me, or because I know it is natural and without additives and hasn’t had to travel far. Maybe it is because I know a passionate local farmer has been behind what is on the table and I know I will have benefited them in some way – for me it’s all of these things. Some might say ‘you trialled it, you have to say it’s good’. But I really don’t, and any regular reader of my blog will know how I feel about this topic.
In my opinion, I think Farmdrop is a fantastic idea. In a city such as Bristol, where community is important and there seems to have been a big shift of interest recently into where our produce has come from, it is great that small local producers and farmers have a chance to connect to shoppers in a way that wasn’t as convenient before.
If you’d like to give Farmdrop a go for yourself, my code NATALIE-OGTPRX will give you £30 credit to pay for up to 25% of your shop.